Saturday, August 13, 2005

Congressman Jenkins Scoffs At Crime

Back in June 14 of this year, 1st Dist. Congressman Bill Jenkins ridiculed law enforcement inTennessee and Washington for wasting time on shutting down the illegal gambling in the Del Rio community of Cocke County -- telling the Knox-News Sentinel:

"The government should focus on terrorism and fighting methamphetamine instead of 'diverting FBI agents' to investigate cockfighting."

Congressman Jenkins sees no value in a Four-Year investigation that has led to criminal charges against 143 people, and Federal investigations that have led to investigation into racketeering, corruption, organized gambling, prostitution, chop-shop operations, drug-trafficking, and the hijacking of interstate commerce.

Oh, and also the ongoing investigations allegations that law enforcement officers in Cocke County may be engaged in drug-trafficking, bribery, etc., etc. Congressman Jenkins has been busy outsourcing TN jobs with the passage of CAFTA. Maybe he sees Crime as the next Economic Boom to Tennessee. It has certainly been big biz in the Nashville.

Just look at the T-shirt business that is now offering apparel to east Tennessee, with t-shirts that show a crowd waving flags that read "Go Cocks!" and also show two roosters with boxing gloves sparring and the phrases:

"Raid on innocent cockfighters $400,000 -- Money confiscated $40,000 -- and the price of living in Cocke Co-- Priceless."

Thursday, August 11, 2005

These Blogs Are Made Of People!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Right war of words is taking place because of Bill Hobbsian logic. Find out the details by clicking here.

See how many times BH changes his story and explains that his invititation for "Tennessee bloggers" gets changed to "I only have room for 12 people". There are waaaaaay more than 12 writers in TN, and certainly, not all deal with politics. It is just hilarious stuff to read -- tip of the hat to Hard Right, a fellow member of the Rocky Top Brigade for keeping an eye on this ever-changing story. It reminds me of that old Nixon quote about "knowing what you think you might know but not knowing or actually understanding what I meant."

Three more additions to the debate about political blogging -- one other state legislator also gives voters a chance to follow activities via the Internet (see "Boycotts, Ethics, and the Blog" of Aug. 9 on this page). Longtime State Senator Roy Herron also has a page for you. Thanks for Hamblen County Commissioner Linda Noe for that addition.

Second, the Lance In Iraq web log says, if you the read the "about me" section, a former Republican "lobbyist/party organizer" as if you could not tell from the postings ripping party politics in TN while sitting in Iraq doing .... not sure about that part, really. What he wrote was "Before that gig, I was Legislative Director for the TN Republican Party in 2000 and Political Director in 2002." And is it just me, or does the picture he posted on Bill Hobb's web log dated Aug 10th look just like Col. Kilgore in "Apocalypse Now"??? BH says he got the pic from Rush Limbaugh's "Club Gitmo" photo collection. Is Limbaugh still working? Isn't he due in court for buying prescription drugs in a parking lot?

One More Tidbit -- If you are reading this, then studies are showing you are among the brightest and the best.

And oh yes, thanks to Michael Silence at the Knoxville News Sentinel for mentioning yer Cup of Joe on his roundup of news regarding the bloody shootout in Roane County.

Lifetime of Failures

After the shootout in Roane County and the re-capture of George Hyatte and his wife Jennifer, a few items seem clear as clear can be -- the TN Corrections system and George and Jennifer Hyatte are all part of years and years of Failure. Reading the AP stories alone tell volumes about this case:

It was at least the fifth time he had gotten way from law enforcement officials. The other escapes were from local authorities in east Tennessee in 1990, 1991, 1998 and 2002. In the escape three years ago, Mr. Hyatte and another prisoner fled from a county jail after threatening guards with a knife made from toothbrushes and a razor blade.

When one guard turned over keys to the inmates, they then used them to beat another officer until he was unconscious. The two escapees were captured in Florida a few days later.

Mr. Hyatte was 9 when he first entered the court system, for school truancy and unruly behavior. By the time he was 17 he had already been through a treatment program for alcohol and drug abuse.”

Not to say it is all the fault of the Corrections System, but he has spent plenty of time under their questionable tutelage and his only expertise is in being a professional criminal.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Writers On The Storm

As one of the newer members of the Rocky Top Brigade (122 and counting) I have been dutifully been readin' thru the many many writers and wordsmiths who have been writing about their lives and the news of the world. There are vast amounts of information of all kinds and some darn fine writers. You don't have to be Southern to write well, but after you live in Tenessee just a little while, the stories you tell start to stretch out and relax and move as natural as a river.

This is just an introduction to a nicely told tale which I read on this site. I found it courtesy of a mention on the Soulfish Stew blog. I don't endorse everything you read/find on the RTB, but there are some fine writers out there if you have time to look and read. Their words won't likely sell a bajillion copies a minute like Harry Potter tale, it's just mostly free people telling you how they see the world.

One lucky writer/traveller has been hauling his Irish perspective all over the world and I also found those perspectives addictive reading. He's not an RTBer, but being Irish can also make you a fine storyteller.

Kutztown and Klutztown

The Kutztown 13 are kids who easily figured out computer codes on the free laptops their school gave them. School officials say it is a felony while the kids and their parents have taken the battle online. I keep looking for a phrase in these press reports about how all this will "go on their permanent record!!" Oh wait -- that's what a Felony means -- even though the school's internet tech people are the ones who left the password taped onto the laptops. Luckily stupid is not a Felony.

If it were I would have been up on charges long ago. Oh, and of all the readers out there (more than two, less than a nation) only one told me about some problems on my blog (thanks Lee) even though it took me a day to actually listen. Fun to watch me twist in the wind isn't it, especially since I have become one of those "critical" people. Truth be told, I have never needed any assistance to reach Stupid.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Boycotts, Ethics and The Blog

Ever wonder what goes thru an elected official's mind as they help craft policy? Some very revealing snapshots of what happens in those seldom-seen committee meetings can be discovered at the web log of Hamblen Co. Commissioner Linda Noe. Here is a sample from Monday's Audit Committee meeting -

The main agenda item was a letter that had been prepared by Chairman Osborne and that was addressed to Finance Chairman Herbert Harville. The letter remarked on the difficulty (impossibility?) in getting answers to 2004 audit questions from the County Mayor or Finance Director. It said that the Audit Committee is at an impasse and noted that County Mayor David Purkey had "willfully" encouraged other elected officials and departments heads not to respond in writing to the Audit Committee and not to attend Audit Committee meetings.

The Mayor's statement urging officials and departments heads to boycott Audit Committee meetings a couple of months ago was very effective. No one attended the Audit Committee then, and no one attended the Audit Committee today. Today, as the Audit Committee prepared to meet, the Mayor told county employee Jeff Atkins and local news person Paul Meador, "let's go," and they did. They skeedaddled out of there, so you probably won't hear anything about what happened at the Audit Committee on tomorrow's radio news."

You can also take a peek at the state legislature thru the web log for State Rep. Stacey Campfield, and I'm pretty sure he's the only TN rep trying out the blog approach. He's been outspoken on the "Ethics" debate in the Legislature -

"I still believe Lois Deberry should step down from her leadership position in the House and in her party. If she can't see that stepping down from those positions is the right thing to do, then I call on all ethical democrats to ask her to step down.

This would be a good first step in showing Tennesseans that it isn't just Republicans, but Democrats who want real ethics change.

As the old saying goes, all it takes for evil to rule is for good people to do nothing. In the continuing wake of the Tennessee Waltz, silence speaks volumes."

Silence is the rule in TN, I'm afraid.

The Internet and it's Many Wonders can provide anyone with lots of information the sound-bites and coordinating cheerleading press releases seldom provide. Want to know more about the 2003-2004 state audit in Hamblen County? It's right there on the Comptroller's pages. Look for your county audit information on the state map.

Finances and auditing are as Dry as Mummy Dust to most of the public. However, you don't have to be an accountant to see that there were findings that caused the state some concern about financial issues in Hamblen Co. government -

B. The county’s budgeting policies provide for the finance director to post certain transfers of appropriations between major categories without County Commission approval. This policy appears to conflict with Section 5-9-407, TCA, which requires that all transfers of appropriations between major categories be approved by the County Commission. The county has no authority to adopt policies that circumvent state statutes.

C. Expenditures exceeded appropriations in various major categories (the legal level of control) for the General Fund, Highway/Public Works Fund, Special Debt Service Fund, General Debt Service Fund, and Hospital Debt Service Fund

I told a friend just yesterday that the best thing about the Web and the World 'o Bloggers is it provides a chance to view events Unfiltered by "mass media" and instead allows readers to learn and discover all on their own.

More on this later, but also worth noting is that the TN Senate race already boasts the first nationwide Web Log advertising. Pith In the Wind has the details.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Van Hilleray's Fonda Desire

Ever the political hopeful and desperate for Media blessings/attention U.S. Senator candidate Van Hilleary vows to debate Jane Fonda. Poor Van must have been sure that a plan to debate Jane would push him to the forefront of the ......(snicker) ....(cough) ... oh I can't do this with a straight face. What in the Sam Hill is he doing?? Imploding? I met Van many years ago and have had many interviews with him, seen him work the crowds, etc. But during his failed run a governor of TN, I noticed how he seemed ...well, desperate.

And poor Jane, too. Even a movie with J-Lo and an autobigraphy that admits, yes, she's been kinda wacky, can't seem to bring Media Satisfaction and so she is planning on a "tour" on a bus that runs on vegetable oil. WHO writes this stuff?? Ends up making Sen. (I'm A Doctor, Really!) Frist seem almost normal.

All the Tennessee leftovers that have been served up for the U.S. Senate make ya wonder if we have politicial leadership or just another casting call for "Dukes of Hazzard." There ya go, Van - Debate Johnny Knoxville!! Debate Jessica Simpson!! Get a guest spot on the "O.C."!! Cut a duet with Dolly Parton!!!

9 out of 10 Tennessee residents have no idea who is running for U.S. Senate. So even a crumb of attention must seem like a banquet.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

How's That Cup of Joe?

Every day you can find new things as the Cup of Joe is being built before yer very eyes.

Thanks to Tenn. Jed for the work ya see here.

A hot, steaming cup of you-know who is always the best way thru the day.

The Fearful and The Weak

The wailing and hand-wringing about NASA and space travel is showing up as Yellow streaks down the back of Americans. Gone, apparently, are the courageus, fearless and innovative views of America and American science. At least, that's what TN "opinion" writers like Frank Cagle think. He frets like a momma over the first chick out of the nest in his latest ramblings in the MetroPulse chatterbox: Risk? Oh no!!! Unacceptable, Unacceptable!! If God had meant for us to fly, we'd have wings!!!

"I still believe, as I always have, in space exploration. But given the immensity of space, would we be better served by more Voyagers, an army of them launched with specific missions? Or will we continue to believe that space can be a hospitable place for humankind and that we must continue to send astronauts out there?

I would be more of a mind to continue manned space flights and send a team to Mars, except for one thing. After two and a half years of safety checks and billions expended, the Discovery “mission” has turned into a mission to find out if Discovery can get home safely. The success of the flight will be judged by whether we get seven astronauts home without them being killed."

Wait until he/or you, dear readers, hear from what most people in my generation say, but first a few glaring Facts. NASA reduced by 80% the falling debris from Shuttle launches with this mission. They also showed the relative ease in performing repairs on the outside of the craft. The Shuttle is operating because Congress has failed to provide the full funding requests of NASA for a new spacecraft, and we have a delivery system that was supposed to have been phased-out so newer technologies could be used -- imagine getting an extra half-million miles on the life of your truck. Is that failure?? So yes, the launches and returns of a transport system operating far beyond the time anyone thought possible is a notable feat. Not a moment for despair. Also to be noted are the bold non-NASA spacecraft developers -- they are reaching for the stars.

I guess Frank watches NASCAR for wrecks, boxing matches in hopes of death -- in other words, it's trendy to report the shipwrecks as opposed to the successful voyages. Garsh, spanky, those sailors could fall of the end of this flat world if they a'keep on 'splorin' like that!!!

Hear's a great view from an email I received from a friend this week, tweaked a tad-bit for 'family reading":
"We were first on the moon. The only ones on the moon. Cling to that memory.
'Cause now we're the Space Puss#*%s.
We sent John Glenn aloft on a rocket that was 30% sure to blow up underneath him.
We sent Apollo 8 into lunar orbit even though we didn't know how to do it at the time.
We sent Neil Armstrong to the surface of the moon without being totally sure he wouldn't just sink through the lunar surface like it was talcum powder.
Now we're spending billions of dollars building camera booms and having unnecessary space walks to make sure the Space Shuttle didn't chip any paint during liftoff.
More people die in automobile accidents in the United States every hour than have died in the entire history of the U.S. and Russian space programs combined.
Let's spend more time checking our tire pressure and less time harrowing our already dwindling Space Program to death.

Did anybody notice they've discovered a new planet in our solar system, or were we too occupied with the latest episode of
The O.C.?"

Also, former Apollo flight director Eugene F. Franks, author of "Failure Is Not An Option - From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond", had a very perceptive editorial in the New York Times last week, which you can read by clicking Here. Check out Eugene's powerful perspective versus Cagle's cowering timidity:

"There are many nations that wish to surpass us in space. Does the "quit now" crowd really believe that abandoning the shuttle and International Space Station is the way to keep America the pre-eminent space-faring nation? Do they really believe that a new spacecraft will come without an engineering challenge or a human toll? The path the naysayers suggest is so out of touch with the American character of perseverance, hard work and discovery that they don't even realize the danger in which they are putting future astronauts - not to mention our nation."

Eugene and NASA have said it best - "Failure is not an option."